Wuntsah... view a demo! blue/orange theme purple theme

What is Wuntsah?

Wuntsah is not a blogging tool, or a plug-in, or a web application. It's simply an idea. The idea is now a part of you, for you to take and upgrade, add on to, build upon. We at Wuntsah want most of all for you to adapt the Wuntsah idea to your own personal site. Perhaps we will provide hosting for multiWuntsahs but ideally we want people to express themselves in their own space! Plus, who needs another login?

Wuntsah using ComicLife

Wuntsah is about watching yourself grow, "once-a" month, "once-a" year, however you want. It's a timeline of your life, a resume of what you've accomplished in the past in a brief, informative format.

The ellipsis in the logo is evocative of on-going, continuing progress with no definitive end.

Make sure to view the demoes of the blue/orange and purple themes.

About Wuntsah's Origins

On May 20th, I had a mindflash that went back to the inspiration I got after visiting the Ft. Worth Museum of Modern Art with my family on military block leave. Here was the e-mail I sent out to family and friends:

From: Ben Turner
Date: May 20, 2006 8:25 PM
Subject: new idea

Came up with a new idea... I was going to incorporate it into my other pet project but for now it might exist on its own...

Wuntsah, as in "once-a". Inspired by Nicholas Nixon's "25 Years of the Brown Sisters" project (check it out), it would be a template series you put on your site.

Nicholas Nixon's 25 Years of the Brown Sisters
Nicholas Nixon, National Gallery of Art via AP

The idea is that once a month, you take a photo of yourself and post it with a very brief summary of what happened to you that month. The idea is that, over time, you see how you've subtly changed and have a very simple chronology of when things happened in your life. The idea is subtlety, brevity, the long-term.

A month seems like an ideal time because people don't change much day to day, but they might change their clothing style or get a tattoo or change their hair month to month. A year seems more appropos as more data is collected on a person.

It fascinates me to study how people develop and when they develop. When they enter different phases of their life, the "liminality" that my grandfather wrote about (@ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality ).

The template would allow people to customize colors and styles easily. It would turn into "the Wuntsah idea", I'd hope. Where people would be like, "I'm so gonna Wuntsah this." It'd be easy to post to. Just go to a page, press "new entry" or something, then link to the photo from your hard drive or flickr or whatever, then enter in the blurb.

everyday on Vimeo

The name is open-ended so if people wanted to just do it once a month or once a year or even once a day, they could.

My thinking is that for the bigger picture, Wuntsah could be part of someone's profile page that you see the first time you look someone up on the site. This goes back to my hating that there's not a broad overview or profile of someone on most social community sites.

E-mail Ben Turner with private remarks. I'm looking for assistance in creating templates and in expanding the Wuntsah idea. Also, visit my personal site for more info about me.

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license Wuntsah is under a Creative Commons ByAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
Download Wuntsah!
Join the Wuntsah Project First, view the database blue/orange demo (most up-to-date), blue/orange demo, or the purple demo.

Goals & Tips

Track your personal, social, and physical growth visually through periodic photos, using whichever frequency (wuntsah day, wuntsah month, wuntsah year, whatever) you feel most comfortable with.

It might help to see doing this for yourself as a work of art than as contributing to a social site or blog. This is a record of your life. High-definition photos are best. Also, unlike other time-lapse projects, I believe the setting is important for a photo. Instead of just a headshot that shows how the body ages over time, I believe clothing style, the photo's background (work, vacation), and little clues like wedding rings or new tattoos are important to establishing an interesting Wuntsah timeline.

Take a look at Ryo Koyama's comparison page of his family, where he has photos of 9 different people, most from their early photo-addled years to their 40's. The format lets you see how they look now compared to when they were toddlers.

An Argentinian family's first year with everyone present.
The Argentinian family's most recent photos.

This is highly subjective, but in my (Ben's) opinion, taking photos daily will not be very interesting until you have a lot of photos which could be used to create, for example, a large portrait made up of a lot of photos. Taking photos monthly is the ideal period of time because it will show the shortest noticeable changes through hair color, hair style, tan, prominent setting, etc.

Tracking sleep throughout the night. (by David Ichioka)
Photographing Sleep, by: David Ichioka

That said, we do not want to impede on your creativity by limiting what you can do. If you want to take photos every five minutes, then have at it!!! =)

Regularity is important for building a durable Wuntsah. Even if you don't post to your Wuntsah, you can take a photo and save it for later.

By adding a short blurb that mentions the prominent events that happened to you during that time period, the photo gains context and the qualities of a diary without taking on the burden of updating or upkeep.

Styles, Plug-Ins, Mods

I want everyone to Wuntsah. I don't care what peoples' Wuntsahs look like and I want people to Wuntsah how they want to. So if you want to make your own templates and modify my default Wuntsahs, please feel free. [ demo of default style ] Wuntsah is under a Creative Commons ByAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. My aim was to place no limits on how people developed their own Wuntsahs; I just wanted to throw the idea out there so that we could begin as a group to track our life progress anthropologically and in a digestable, somewhat standard format.

All I ask for is that you consider letting me post or link to your work on my site. Also, if you make it so that others may use your templates, that would assist in the creative spread of functional, beautiful Wuntsahs.